Submitted by Jonathan Perloe, Cos Cob
In June, the Supreme Court handed down a radical decision, NY State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc v. Bruen, that held that government cannot restrict the right to own a gun unless the restriction has a historical analog with regulations dating back to the 18th and 19th century, more than 150 years ago. No longer can judges balance public safety against restricting Second Amendment rights when evaluating the constitutionality of a gun law, completely at odds with the Court’s consideration of limitations on other constitutional rights.
As a result, gun laws across the country are under attack, including here in Connecticut. The CT Citizens Defense League, the state affiliate of the NRA represented by two Republican state legislators, filed suit in federal court to overturn our assault weapons ban, the second such group to do so. Just recently, a federal judge ruled unconstitutional a federal law that prohibits possession of guns without serial numbers. Serial numbers are a key factor in solving crimes involving guns.
Connecticut is fortunate to have one of the lowest gun death rates in the nation, thanks to tough gun laws that are ranked third strongest by the Giffords Law Center, secured over the past 30 years by Democratic majorities in the General Assembly. But with more challenges to our gun laws expected, the need to elect lawmakers who will protect Connecticut’s strong gun laws is more important than ever. It is possible laws will need to be rewritten, and that requires having state legislators who we can count on to support strong gun laws.
The Democrats running to represent Greenwich in Hartford: Trevor Crow (S-36), Rachel Khanna (H-149), State Rep. Steve Meskers (H-150) and Hector Arzeno (H-151), are those candidates. All four are endorsed by CT Against Gun Violence because they have taken strong, public stands on supporting regulations that keep guns out of the hands of those who can’t be trusted with lethal weapons. Keeping weapons of war out of civilian hands, as our assault weapon ban does, protects citizens and law enforcement alike.
The same cannot be said of their Republican opponents. None of them responded to CAGV’s candidate survey, refusing to share with voters where they stand on laws such as allowing police chiefs to deny a permit to carry guns in public when the applicant is not deemed safe to do so, or requiring firearms to be securely stored when not in the owner’s immediate control, regardless of who lives in the residence (guns stolen from homes and cars are a key source of illegal guns).
What we do know is that incumbent Kimberly Fiorello (H-149) earned an NRA “A” grade on the strength of her opposition to gun laws favored by majorities of Americans. We know that incumbent Ryan Fazio falsely blamed increases in gun homicide on the police accountability bill, even though the law had yet to go into effect. Both these incumbents voted “no” on this year’s budget, which funded the Department of Public Health to create a grant program to support violence-reduction programs in our largest cities, which account for the majority of gun homicides.
Voters have a right to know where candidates stand on measures that protect us from gun violence. It’s clear that the Democrats running to represent Greenwich will continue the tradition that makes Connecticut a leader in gun safety.
Their Republican challengers either don’t want you to know, or have shown themselves to favor the gun lobby over common-sense gun laws and other measures to reduce gun violence.
Please make a plan to vote on November 8.